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A green roof in Dulverton designed by Sika Sarnafil for National Science and Engineering Week.
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Win a green roof for your school by photographing local wildlife

Matilda Lee

9th March, 2010

With spring around the corner, why not take a walk around your local park or forest to get a closer look at - and photograph - local wildlife. Uploading pictures can win a school near you a green roof

Children, adults and teachers alike should bring a camera on their next walk as trips to gardens, local parks, school grounds or forests are now an opportunity for their local school to win a green roof.

The green roof competition is part of 'What on Earth', a campaign by the British Science Association designed to encourage us to take a closer look at local flora and fauna. This is particularly important at a time when the habitats of some of our oldest and most loved species, such as the stag beetle and hazel dormouse are in decline.

By snapping pictures of plants and creatures - from early spring flowers to fungi, birds and insects - and uploading them on to the website, you will contribute to a national biodiversity identification project being run by Open University's website iSpot.

All pictures uploaded will be examined, identified and catalogued by specialists from all fields of natural science.

Schools have until March 10th to nominate themselves, and the last date to upload photos is March 31st. The green roof will be awarded to a school in the area that has shown the most support by uploading the most pictures. The winner will be informed by April 2nd.

All under one roof

Dusty Gedge, an urban ecologist and founder of www.livingroofs.org, an independent source of green roof information in the UK, says that a green roof can be used as an outdoor classroom and will help to preserve local wildlife.

Dusty Gedge says, ‘Green Roofs are a feat of science and engineering designed to encourage wildlife. Green roofs improve air quality and increase natural diversity, and teachers can use them as a starting point for lessons on everything: flooding, greenhouse gas emissions, the urban heat island affect, physics and chemistry.'

Dusty adds, ‘Lots of children don't spend time in local wildlife. I've even heard that some parents worry that children might get muddy! Even if it's only in the local park, it's great to get kids out there.'

Though only one school can win a green roof, everyone that uploads a photo can receive a free packet of British wildflower seeds.

The green roof competition is part of the British Science Association's annual National Science & Engineering Week from the 12th to the 21st March. This year's theme is ‘Earth'.

For information on the 2,000 events taking place throughout the UK see www.nsew.org.uk

Matilda Lee is the Ecologist's Community Affairs Editor

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